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Champneys is the brand name of a destination spa group in the United Kingdom. Champneys Health Resorts Group own four spa resorts. The companies are owned by mother and son, Dorothy and Stephen Purdew.
Dorothy Purdew set up a slimming club business and opened her first club on 25 June 1970 at Frimleys, Northampton. It was a success and led to over 70 clubs opening throughout the South East. In September 1981, Dorothy and her husband Robert purchased Henlow Grange for £350,000 from Leida Costigan and one of their sons Stephen joined the company. Costigan had opened Henlow Grange in 1961 as The Beauty Farm School of Beauty and Physical Culture, the first of its kind in the UK. Following the death of Robert Purdew, Stephen took over management of the group.
In 1990, they purchased Springs Health Farm in Leicestershire, followed by another health farm at Forest Mere in 1995. The Hotel de la Paix, a ski hotel in Champéry, Switzerland, was purchased in 1996. The last purchase was Champneys Tring, which with the Champneys name, led to the re-branding of all the resorts. It was opened as the UK’s first health farm in 1925 by naturopath Stanley Lieff, who pioneered the concept of holistic health and naturopathy. He was assisted in this project by London Solicitor Edwin Herrin.
In 2002, Henlow Grange suffered a fire, but following nine months of renovations, the spa was re-opened.
In 2004, Champneys launched a range of spa products called the Champneys Collection, and in 2006 Champneys opened a high street spa in Chichester. "Champneys Day Spas" have now opened in eight other locations: Enfield, Guildford, Tunbridge Wells, St. Albans, Brighton, Chichester, Milton Keynes and Bath.
In 2006 Stephen Purdew celebrated his engagement to Isabelle at Champneys Tring, inviting over 200 guests, including Liam Gallagher, Piers Morgan and footballers David Seaman, Tony Adams, Gary McAllister and Ian Wright.
In 2008, Dorothy Purdew received an O.B.E in the Queens Birthday Honours List, for services to the Health Spa Industry and charity. In 2004, £150,000 was raised for Breast Cancer Care. Tommy’s Children Charity and the Disability Foundation were supported in 2006, raising a combined sum of £100,000. During 2008–2009, Champneys successfully applied for and was granted charitable status.
In July 2011, Sir Paul Stephenson, Metropolitan Police Commissioner, resigned over a stay at Champneys Tring, part of which had been a gift from Stephen Purdew, and in an interview in The Guardian in August the same year, Purdew explained that certain clients receive discounts on the basis of their celebrity status or if they are journalists or hold high-ranking positions in public office: "These rugby players are paying but they're coming on a concession rate because it's just making the place buzz. We do that with actors and journalists and dignitaries. It makes Champneys 'The Place'."
Champneys International College of Health & Beauty
Champneys International College of Health & Beauty, in the grounds of the Tring resort in Hertfordshire, was founded in 1976 and offers both full-time and part-time courses.
The chain has four resorts in the United Kingdom:
- Champneys Henlow, Henlow, Bedfordshire
- Champneys Forest Mere, Liphook, Hampshire
- Champneys Springs, Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Leicestershire
- Champneys Tring, Wigginton, Hertfordshire
- "Henlow History". Retrieved 29 December 2012.
- Purdew, Dorothy (2011). The Long Road to Champneys: The Extraordinary Life of a Pioneering Spa Queen. Infinite Ideas Ltd. p. 145. ISBN 190682150X. Retrieved 29 December 2012.
- Purdew, Dorothy (2011). The Long Road to Champneys. Infinite Ideas Ltd. p. 226. ISBN 190682150X.
- Purdew, Dorothy. "Santi Conference Speaker Biography: 1 June 2009". www.santi-santi.com. Retrieved 29 December 2012.
- "Champneys, Forest Mere, Hampshire". Telegraph. 21 December 2009. Retrieved 21 December 2009.